Belfast family stages graveside protest against cemetery's planned removal of late daughter’s headstone
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Belfast family stages graveside protest against cemetery's planned removal of late daughter’s headstone

A BELFAST family has staged a graveside protest against the removal of the headstone from their late 23-year-old daughter’s grave.

It’s nearly a year since young mum Emma Nolan passed away following a battle with alcohol addiction.

Emma was subsequently laid to rest by her family at Hannahstown Cemetery, last April, in a grave featuring a pink butterfly-shaped headstone.

However, back in June, Emma’s mother, Loretta Nolan was sent a solicitor’s letter informing her that the tombstone did not comply with the rules of the County Antrim parish cemetery.

Despite being a similar shape and size to other headstones in the graveyard, the Nolans were informed they had just 28 days to remove it.

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Angry and upset at the decision, Loretta launched a Facebook group to shine a light on the issue.

In the space of a few short days the Facebook group Let Emma Nolan Rest in Peace had attracted more than 3,500 members from all over the world eager to see the tombstone stay in place.

"People cannot understand why we are being asked to take down the headstone on Emma's grave, and to be honest we cannot understand why either,” Loretta told the Belfast Telegraph.

"The butterfly headstone was picked by Emma's son who is only six, and it has great significance for us because it was the symbol of the treatment for alcoholism Emma went through before she died.”

The campaign culminated this past Sunday with a graveside vigil that saw 150 people turn out in support of Emma’s tombstone remaining in place.

Congregating around the late mother’s grave, the vigil was held to mark the original 28-day deadline to remove the headstone.

According to Irish News, the family is now consulting with a solicitor over whether they can take out an injunction order preventing the removal of the tombstone.

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